Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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November 18, 2012
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November 18, 2012
Smoking Does Not Mean That We Are Not Saved, Our Salvation Is Based On God's Grace And Faith In Jesus And Not On Good Works, Sin Unto Death, All Sins Are Forgivable Except For Blasphemy Against The Holy Ghost, Role Of Holy Spirit, Sins Worse Than Smoking, God Does Not Seem To View All Sins The Same, Different Punishments For Different Sins In The OT, Being Poor Christian Examples, Don't Stumble And Offend The Brethren By Your Selfish Habits, Be Christ-Like Instead, Poor Choices And Digging Our Own Pit, We Reap What We Sow, Fight For The Victory, Spirit Of Repentance And Desperate Prayer, Confess Sins, Get Your Heart Right With The Lord, Conviction Of God's Spirit, Renewed Relationship With God, Lifelong Battles Against The Flesh, Desperate And Humble, Satan's Web Of Addiction, Ye Have Not Yet Resisted Unto Blood, A Choice Before You, Closing Remarks, Reading List
A few hours after I sent a brief, private response to the person who had messaged me on my Facebook page, he posted a message on my timeline. In it, he expressed concern that he might not be truly saved, or a real Christian, because of the fact that he smokes. As I briefly pointed out to him, it is my belief that whether or not a person smokes has absolutely no bearing on the status of their Salvation. After all, as I amply explain in other articles, our Salvation is not based upon our own works in the flesh; it is based on our faith in the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Being as this topic is discussed at length in these other articles, I will not be addressing it fully here. However, allow me to share just a few verses for your consideration:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
Titus 3:5, KJV
"And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
Romans 11:6, KJV
In short, it is my view that to add any other conditions or requirements to our Salvation other than simple faith in the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, is to convert it from a faith that is based solely on the Grace of God alone through faith in Christ, to a religion and faith that is based on personal supposedly "good" works. This is wrong, and likewise contrary to what the Scriptures actually teach us. Either the Blood Sacrifice of Christ is enough, or else it isn't. If it is not, as some people erroneously believe, then truly, Jesus died in vain. This I do not believe or accept. Please refer to some of my other articles for a more in-depth explanation regarding this topic.
As we have already seen, an individual who smokes is indeed sinning against their own body, and displeasing the Lord as well. Quite possibly, they may likewise be shortening their own life span. However, personally, I am not convinced that smoking can or should be classified as what the Apostle John refers to as "a sin unto death". Consider these verses:
"If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death."
1 John 5:16-17, KJV
It is evident from the Scriptures -- and particularly from Jesus' own teachings -- that all sins -- including smoking -- are forgivable, except for one. That one sin is what the Lord refers to as blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Consider the following verses:
"Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men."
Matthew 12:31, KJV
Exactly what is meant by blasphemy against the Holy Ghost? As I explain in such articles as "The Judgment of Angels, Demons and Men", "Beholding the Evil and the Good" and "Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Chastisement", it is my personal belief that the Holy Ghost -- or Holy Spirit -- is the extension of God the Father Himself. I believe that it is the very essence of His Being. It is His Presence in some intangible form. It is a Creative Force and a Power which proceeds from the Central Throne of God Almighty, which miraculously creates, heals and empowers those people who are touched by, or filled with it.
The Holy Spirit is the same Force and Power which was present at the moment of Creation, and it is the same Force and Power which resided within the very body of Jesus Christ during His Earthly Ministry. Furthermore, it is also the same Force and Power which can dwell within a saved Christian, according to God's Divine Purposes. The Holy Ghost is also our Comforter and Teacher. Consider the following verses which confirm all of these points:
"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
Genesis 1:2, KJV
"The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life."
Job 33:4, KJV
"And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
Luke 1:35, KJV
"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:"
Matthew 3:16, KJV
"For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him."
John 3:34, KJV
"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
Colossians 2:9, KJV
"But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you."
Matthew 12:28, KJV
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John 14:26, KJV
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"
John 15:26, KJV
"For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ."
Romans 15:18-19, KJV
So, because the Holy Spirit is an extension of the Father, it is my view that to blaspheme the Holy Ghost is the same as blaspheming the Father too. But exactly how is it that a person blasphemes against the Holy Ghost? Because it is the Spirit of Truth, it bears testimony to the fact that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God who was born in the flesh, and who died for the sins of the world. To call this truth a lie is to blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, and thus call God a liar. In my view, this is why Jesus informs us that it is the one unpardonable sin.
While smoking is an ugly, distasteful habit, and likewise a sin against one's own body which can ultimately lead to a premature death, I do believe that there are other worse sins. For example, the Bible very much condemns pride and arrogance, stubbornness, homosexuality, adultery, causing division amongst the brethren, etc. Some people erroneously believe that all sins are viewed the same by God. They say "Sin is sin". However, personally, as I have just pointed out, I am not convinced that this is so.
While I can agree that all sins are wrong, God in fact makes distinctions between different kinds of sins. If, as this doctrine states, all sins are the same to God, then it does not make sense that God would have Moses prescribe different punishments for different sins in the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament. In other words, the Israelites would have simply had one universal punishment for all sins, if all sins are truly viewed as being the same. Obviously, this is not the way it was whatsoever. The fact that Jesus states that all sins are forgivable except for blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, and John writes that there are sins which are not sins unto death, proves this very point.
While I honestly do not believe that a person can lose their Salvation because they smoke -- as my friend feared -- I do believe that in addition to being destructive to our own bodies, and potentially harmful to other people due to the secondhand smoke, another reason why the Lord would find it offensive is because it is being a very poor example to our Christian brethren, as well as to the children of the world. How can we claim to be yielded servants of the Lord when we are openly and blatantly defiling and polluting the temple that He gave us to live in? In Paul's first Epistle to the Thessalonian brethren, he writes the following:
"Abstain from all appearance of evil."
1 Thessalonians 5:22, KJV
While you may possibly disagree with this point of view, it seems to me that smoking could fall under the jurisdiction of this verse. An even more applicable set of verses would be the fourteenth chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, where he discusses eating certain foods, observing certain feast days, and doing other things which certain brethren might find objectionable, and thus cause them to stumble and fall away from the faith. Paul's overall advice is that if we are truly motivated by love, and are being led by the Lord's Spirit, then even if we believe that it is acceptable to do a certain thing, we should not do it if other brethren will be offended by it. Consider the following key verses which summarize these thoughts:
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me."
Romans 14:19-15:3, KJV
As you can see, even though we may believe that we have the spiritual freedom to do certain things, Paul emphasizes that for the sake of the brethren, we should not do them, and "not to please ourselves" but rather "please his neighbour for his good to edification As Paul concludes, "Christ pleased not himself". Clearly then, even if you personally believe that it is okay for a Christian to smoke, nevertheless, it is a selfish act if others are offended by your actions. It is not being Christ-like.
As I explained earlier in this article, if you are a smoker, then you must be willing to admit -- at least to the Lord and to yourself -- that you are in your current predicament as a result of your own poor choices. Therefore, because you repeatedly chose to ignore the Lord's warnings regarding the dangers of smoking cigarettes year after year, He may not be too eager to provide you with an easy, painless victory, and a quick, supernatural deliverance as you now desire. I am reminded of the following verse that is found in the Book of Proverbs:
"Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him."
Proverbs 26:27, KJV
The lesson which is revealed in the previous verse finds its companion in the following verse that is found in the Apostle Paul's Epistle to the Galatian brethren:
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Galatians 6:7, KJV
Thus, because of your rebellion against the Lord; because you willingly and knowingly polluted your temple for such a long time, the Lord may want you to really fight in order to obtain the victory. You need to demonstrate seriousness and conviction in your heart that you truly desire to be freed from your smoking habit. If you are viewing this as just a smoking problem as any worldly person would do, then you may not get anywhere. You need to let God's Spirit convict you of sin. You need to realize that you have offended the Lord by your foolish behavior, polluted the holy temple of your body which He has given you, and done great harm not only to yourself, but possibly to others as well. In other words, you need a true spirit of repentance. You need to truly be desperate with the Lord, and cry out to Him for His Help. That is what the Lord wants to see. Consider the following verses which demonstrate examples of desperate prayer:
"In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD. And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake."
2 Kings 20:1-6, KJV
"And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead? But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."
2 Samuel 12:13-23, KJV
"In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying, Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city."
Isaiah 38:1-6, KJV
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
Psalms 51:10, KJV
"Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Luke 18:10-14, KJV
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
James 4:7-10, KJV
As the previous verses demonstrate, one of the first steps to obtaining victories in our lives is to get our hearts right with the Lord. We need to confess our sins before Him and repent. As I said earlier, you cannot be double-minded about this. You need to really get desperate, and be serious about wanting a victory over your smoking habit. You simply cannot approach this problem and sin half-heartedly, because it could end up meaning a shortened life. Once you actually experience the conviction of God's Spirit working on your heart, and realize the gravity of your sin, it may be easier for you to stop smoking and obtain the victory, because you will have the right motivation to do so. It won't be just about trying to stop smoking; it will be about renewing your relationship with the Lord, and regaining His favor.
While I obviously do not know the Lord's Will for your life, it is possible that He could give you a quick victory. This is not to say that you will never be tempted to smoke again, but God will give you the strength and the Grace to resist it. After all, fighting against the sins of our flesh is a lifelong battle. They are what help to keep us humble and desperate before the Lord. As we also read in Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians:
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
1 Corinthians 10:13, KJV
Just remember that old habits die hard, and the old man of the flesh is not going to surrender so easily, exactly as the Apostle Paul points out in his Epistle. Neither is that demon of addiction who has afflicted you for so long. As I mentioned earlier, Satan purposely makes it easy to become ensnared in his web of addiction. It doesn't matter whether our sin is smoking, drinking, doing drugs, pornography, or anything else. It is only when we decide to rid ourselves of these vices that we discover that getting out is not nearly as easy as it was to become involved with them in the first place. Our appetite has become perverted, and we only want more. I am reminded of the following verses that are found in the Epistle to the Hebrews:
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin."
Hebrews 12:1-4, KJV
Paul writes that we must "lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us", and that we must keep our eyes on Jesus so that we do not become "wearied and faint in [our] minds". But notice how he concludes those verses: "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." Jesus strove against sin all the way to the Cross. He shed His own Blood for our sakes. Your personal battle against your smoking addiction is rather minimal by comparison, even though it may not appear to you that way now.
Perhaps this is the message that the Lord wanted you to hear today. Perhaps it will give you the motivation that you need in order to get serious with the Lord. He has a victory for you, but you must reach out and take it. You have a choice. Either you can continue to be stubborn and rebellious; you can continue to light up and eventually die; or else you can get smart, begin to yield yourself and your will to God, and live. The choice is really up to you. He won't force you to do this. If you do obtain a victory over your smoking habit, and if the Lord does give you more years as He did with King Hezekiah, I pray that you will truly use your extra time for His glory. Otherwise, they will have been a waste of the Lord's efforts.
Before concluding this article, allow me to emphasize that while it has dealt with the issue of smoking, the points and lessons I have shared here can also be equally applied to any other dangerous and addictive behavior; whether it is drinking alcoholic beverages, taking drugs, watching and reading pornography, or any other activity which is harmful to the mind and body. As I said, it does not matter to Satan what form our addictions take. All that matters to him is that we are addicted, and that the addiction eventually kills us, or at least prevents us from effectively serving the Lord.
In conclusion, my earnest hope is that you have made the wise choice to stop smoking. In so doing, not only are you helping yourself, but you will be helping your loved ones as well; particularly if you are married and have children. With these thoughts I will bring this article to a close. I hope that you have found it informative, and I pray that it has been a blessing and an inspiration in your life.
If you have enjoyed reading this article, please consider sharing its URL with your online friends. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc, I would also appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this article, or which are related to this article, and which are likewise located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:
Beholding the Evil and the Good
Fulfilled Prophecy: The Beginning of Sorrows
Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Chastisement
The Battle is Not Yours Alone!
The Judgment of Angels, Demons and Men
The Lord Will Lift You Up!